The 2022 Beijing Winter Games are now closed, putting an end to an exciting, though sometimes strange, Olympics.
It was always going to be a bit funny having an Olympics so soon after the Summer Games ended—only six months ago!—instead of waiting the normal two years. But Canada ended with an impressive 26 medals—tied for the highest total ever for the country and fourth overall at these Games.
Of course, it also fell short in terms of gold medals—with just four—and stumbled in events like curling and figure skating. These are ones where Canadians are used to seeing a lot of success.
But sometimes it's not about the amount of wins, but the quality of them. And Canada had a lot of quality moments in Beijing! Let's celebrate them together!
Icing on the cake
There's no getting around the fact that many Canadians felt bummed that once again the world's best male hockey players—a.k.a. NHL players—weren't going to be at Beijing. Who doesn't want to watch McDavid, MacKinnon, and Crosby team up to go head-to-head against Matthews or Ovechkin? Fortunately, the women's national team erased all of that disappointment with a performance for the ages!
Going a perfect seven wins and zero losses, the Canadians were relentless. In those games, they outscored all of their opponents 57 to 10. Winger Sarah Nurse set an Olympic record for points with 18—five goals and 13 assists. Rising star Sarah Fillier scored eight times. And to top it all off, this team beat their intense rivals—Team USA—twice, including a dominant 3–2 win in the gold medal game.
Marie-Philip Poulin is the only hockey player – female or male – to score in four Olympic gold medal games ?
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) February 17, 2022
Maybe most amazing was the team's captain, Marie-Philip Poulin. She scored twice in the gold medal game, making her the first-ever player to score in four straight Olympic finals! In three of those games (including Beijing), she scored the game-winning goal, too. And incidentally, with this win, Canadian women are now the reigning Olympic champs in soccer and hockey. Woohoo!
Another superstar at this Olympics was speed skater Isabelle Wiedemann. She captured a trio of medals, including gold in the team pursuit event (along with teammates Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais), silver in the 5000m, and bronze in the 3000m! Her glittering efforts earned her the right to be Canada's flag bearer in the closing ceremony. We'd say that was well-earned!
Another speed skater also added to Canada's golden haul—Charles Hamelin. His work in the 5000m relay gave him the sixth medal of his career and his fourth gold. (He shared this gold with teammates Maxime Laoun, Steven Dubois, Jordan Pierre-Gilles, and Pascal Dion.) It was a great way to bounce back from a medal-less 2018 Games in Pyeongchang and the perfect end to his terrific story as an Olympic star.
...and brilliant boards!
It is also safe to say that Canadian snowboarding is firmly a part of the country's Olympic reputation. Snowboarders captured six medals in Beijing—four bronze, one silver, and the first gold of the Games. Max Parrot, who won that gold, was a big story. He returned from a battle with cancer to once again prove that he is one of the greatest to ever strap himself on to a board, hit the slopes, and launch himself into the bright blue sky!
On to Italy!
And with that, it's all sights set on 2026. The next Winter Games will happen in the cities of Milan and Cortina in Italy. Who will be Canada's heroes then? Only time will tell.
But one thing that is certain is that thousands of athletes across the country are working overtime already to have the chance to realize the dream of being an Olympian. Maybe it's best to sign off, not with a winner, but with a Canadian just being a great sport.
Curler Jennifer Jones won gold in Sochi in 2014, but fell short on the medal rounds in Beijing. Did she sulk and pout? Nope! Instead, she went right to the Japanese team that qualified ahead of her and her team and gave them a big hug. (The Japanese, by the way, went on to win silver, their country's best-ever curling result.)
Of course this is what Jennifer Jones would do after Japan clinched a playoff spot and Canada didn't.
— Devin Heroux (@Devin_Heroux) February 17, 2022
There are lots of ways to be a champion, right?